If you read last week’s blog post, you might remember me saying that around 7 years ago I had become so weak that I had to stop training and some days couldn’t even face getting out of bed.
I still remember the day I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome the first time round.
I also remember how great it felt when I finally realised that by removing artificial sweeteners like aspartame from my diet, all my strange symptoms and the chronic fatigue would disappear.
(Just as a short aside, while I still believe artificial sweeteners aren’t good for any of us, I now know that while they were one of the first stimuli I reacted to, there was much more going on that I would only become aware of years later – in fact 10 months ago – through DNRS.)
And while I did feel much better when I removed artificial sweeteners from my diet, I still had occasional flare-ups and unexplained symptoms over the years. And after hitting rock bottom in 2015 (more details of my story here), I really believe that there would have been no way for me to recover to even a fraction of the extent that I have this time round had I not discovered DNRS.
And yet it was still strange to read what I had written back then and to realise how similar some things were to the way I feel now.
So I thought you might be interested to read what I wrote when my life had started all over again 6 years ago.
And here it is.
1. A run to remember
Alarm goes off. Quick breakfast while I pull my running clothes on and off to start my run. Just like most other mornings.
Except that halfway through my run I realise that it’s not like most other mornings.
It’s actually completely different from most mornings, most runs, most days in the past five years. I feel light, energetic and happy. My running feels natural and easy. No heaviness, no sluggishness, nothing weighing me down.
2. How things had changed due to chronic fatigue syndrome
And that’s when it hits me: This is me, this is who I am. Or rather should I say, this is who I was. This is who I was before chronic fatigue syndrome.
Not the person unable to get out of bed in the morning. Not the person unable to face the day before it had even started.
“But Jo, it’s what you do, it’s what you love.” Always the reply whenever I mentioned stopping training. But, I wondered, is it really what I love if I have to force myself to do it? Is it really what I love when I try to think of a million excuses not to?
“You never come out with us any more Jo!” How could I explain to my friends that, at 24, I just didn’t have the energy to any more? I could barely make it to work some days, let alone to go out with them!
3. The worst reactions
So I just existed in a sort of limbo. Some days were good, some days I couldn’t get out of bed. Some days started out ok and then I suddenly passed out on the sofa, unable to move, unable to answer my boyfriend (yes 6 years ago Dermot was still my boyfriend :) ) who frantically questioned me and tried to figure out what was happening.
To this day I still don’t know exactly what used to be happening. My mother says that she would sit and watch me and worry that I wouldn’t wake up.
Mood swings, extreme fatigue, slurred speech, loss of muscular control, loss of consciousness: just a few of the things I would experience a few hours after ingesting anything containing sweeteners.
The following day panic attacks, paranoia, nausea, fatigue, muscular weakness and extreme pain. And in the long term: general fatigue, lethargy, irritability, low mood and anxiety.
So today as I run, feeling light, energetic and happy, my running feeling natural and easy, I look back at the limbo of these past five years but strangely I don’t feel upset or angry that all this happened.
I just feel grateful. Grateful that today I can run. Grateful that my family, boyfriend and friends never stopped loving me, even on the days when my reactions made me make it so hard for them to love me.
Grateful that I am myself again, that I am happy again, that my life is starting all over again.
Back to today: As I said before, although I felt much better at the time, some strange symptoms never disappeared completely. It was only after hitting rock bottom in 2015 and then discovering DNRS that I recovered 100%.
You can read more about how I recovered here or feel free to contact me. You can also subscribe to receive updates from the sidebar or below.